The Harness Bulls
resurrected member of the Night Guard
THE LIGHT GUARD
Xanther was born in a large seaside kingdom that was enjoying a long period of relative peace. His father was a well-respected knight like his father and father before him, known throughout the kingdom for his compassion and strength and for vanquishing those that had threatened there peace many times before. Xanther’s family was quite wealthy and so he was raised with the best of education and art. The kingdom was known for its culture and its artists knew a life of great prosperity.
Xanther spent most of his free time as a child in the church, studying the word of the Light. Humbled by its awesome power, he was one of the many that was in awe of his father in which the light so evidently favored. His mother was a priestess of the church and a former bard; she used her knowledge of the arts to produce many wonderful morality plays that spread the Word through stories of adventures and epic battles of good vs. evil.
Xanther’s best friend was Kerick Brackney, an orphan boy who was raised in the church. Xanther’s mother treated him like a son, and the two boys considered themselves to be brothers. Both were enthralled in the stories of adventure and played as knights together in the hills, excited by the idea of spreading the word of the Light and exacting justice on those who opposed it. Whereas Kerick could rarely leave the church and learned of how to do battle through the many actors who visited, Xanther was regularly educated in the keep by his father and various battle masters on the ways of combat.
Though both had severely different training, during tournament competitions set for the entertainment of the kingdom such as jousts and fencing, Xanther and Kerick were evenly matched. Both boys would rise the top of the tournament brackets the victory was often passed back and forth between them.
It often troubled Xanther how critical Kerick was of those around him. Whereas Xanther was compassionate to those less fortunate in his kingdom and would often drop a coin in the open palm of a starving orphan, whereas Kerick would kick them away. Kerick expressed that even though he too was an orphan, he worked hard for his food and turned to the light for strength to be a better person. Xanther noticed that Kerick was often abusive to the servants in his keep as well though and more often than not had a harsh word to say about the actors and artists.
Kerick grew to believe that plays and songs were a waste of time and energy. That true servants of the Light spread the Word through strength and discipline. Xanther agreed that it took such things as that to embrace the Light, but had learned from his family that it was also about tolerance and appreciation and humility. He knew the Light was about joy and beauty, and that the strength and discipline was a tool to protect such things. Where Kerick believed magic and sorcery to be a work of evil, Xanther believed that the Light came in all forms and that whatever people interpreted the Word to be it all came from the same source.
One day his father had recruited Xanther and Kerick to join him and some fellow nights on a journey to a neighboring town to deliver food to the hungry, for the growth of crops in that area had been poor that season. Upon arrival to the town, they discovered it in flames with heavily armored men rampaging through the city and murdering innocents. Caught by surprised, Xanther’s father found a sword through his chest courtesy of Kerick himself. Xanther and Kerick fought and Xanther was knocked off a cliff where he was presumed dead. However, when he came to he climbed his way up and discovered the town completely burned to the ground and bodies everywhere, his father among them.
When he returned home, he discovered that his mother had been poisoned as well as the other priests of the church. He was told that Kerick had formed a group known now as The Champions Of Light and were traveling the land, marauding villages and striking down all those that were considered weak and inferior to the light. They were taking slaves and forcing many of them to join his army.
Xanther had an overwhelming sense of guilt, believing that this was mostly his fault for not seeing this coming. He feels he could have tried harder to convince Kerick to journey down the path of love and compassion. Now his parents are dead. Every dead body that continues to pile up is his fault.
The Light is a philosophy, a way of life, in which the main purpose is to end suffering.
To follow The Light is to be on a never-ending quest for knowledge through peace, love and understanding.
The original Temple Of The Light can be found just outside of Sea Haven.
It is said that many generations ago, a notorious pirate known as Captain Fire Tooth washed ashore after his ship was destroyed in a battle with royal soldiers. Broken and bloody, with soldiers still upon him, Fire Tooth fled into the mountains above the town of Sea Haven to seek refuge in a cave.
It was in this cave where Fire Tooth began to feel a sudden calmness. As he journeyed deeper into this cave, this feeling of relaxation intensified deep within him. He discovered his wounds and the extreme pain he was feeling began to fade.
It was only days later when the soldiers found him, surprised that he had turned the cave so quickly into a home complete with a bed, chairs and even a bear skin rug, all of which was put together with materials around the cave. In the center of his dwelling was a large rock engulfed with a white flame.
The origin of the rock was unknown, but a hole above it suggests that it fell from the sky.
Fire Tooth offered to turn himself into his soldiers. He admitted to feeling overcome with guilt for all his terrible crimes and all he wanted to do was be redeemed. The soldiers, overcome with the feeling of love and happiness, declined the offer to bring in Fire Tooth and instead decided to stay in the cave as well.
The group of them built a shrine to this mysterious rock from above. They discovered that it stayed lit all throughout the day, and when the moon and stars shined above it would suddenly extinguish, In fact, as long as the sun was shining the fire could never be put out. This was “The Light.”
The cave became a temple as over time many religious leaders came to visit this rock to study it. They found that instead of fighting over it, as is the case when most religious groups mix, it was accepted that the rock was a gift to all to be used simply to heal.
Now, many generations later, the temple is known as a center of learning and arts. Its libraries are full of texts from the various religions that have come and gone over the years, as well as poems and plays from which writers have found great inspiration from simply being near The Light.
Monks who, through meditation, become vessels of The Light inhabit the temple. The monks love to consider themselves great teachers; they are historians and artists and are eager to teach other religions that are open minded enough how they could incorporate “The Light” into their belief systems.
To know “The Light” is to know your true potential to contribute to the harmony of the world around you.
To serve “The Light” is to serve others.
To serve “The Light” is to serve the influence of balance and order.
A select few are chosen to be Light Guards. Though violence isn’t ideal in the ways of The Light, it is sometimes necessary. If one is considered worthy, The Light blesses them with the proper guidance to protect others.
When one answers the calling to become a Light Guard, the initiation begins with the removal of all their possessions. They are equipped only with their armor and weapon, only to move where the light leads them.
Though they do carry weapons, The Light Guards main tool is their armor. A Light Guard is always willing to selflessly be put in harms way for the sake of others. A weapon must primarily be draw in defense. To use their weapon is to be considered an act of mercy on a being that is beyond saving.
Through channeling The Light, they can use great abilities to heal those who are pure of heart or punish those who would commit evil doing.
The result of a Light Guard’s grueling journey is ultimately to discover a state of transcendence known as True Bliss. This is a state that can only be found after meditation as well through deeds that, through your actions, have made the world a better place and have proven that your heart is pure and just. To achieve Pure Bliss is to be more than just your individual body.
True Bliss comes as a grace beyond our personal control of power. It is a gift, and one is forever changed after tasting it. It is wonderful, and having discovered it, it can be found everywhere, in all people. It is always with us, just as we can’t earn it, we can’t get rid of it. True Bliss does not make you special; it makes everything and everywhere special.
Light Guards who have discovered true bliss have the opportunity to return to the Temple to live as monks, to continue to live a life of meditation and teaching. Some continue to wander the lands to continue to protect the less fortunate.
The current Commander Of The Light Guard is Dovina Lucarde. She was instated after her father and previous Command Of The Light Guard, Taurius Lucarde was murdered.
THE NIGHT GUARD
With the help of other adventurers, Xanther defeated Kerick Brackney as well as his young son who was being groomed to wield great power meant to destroy.
Afterwards, it was on one of his many travels that he discovered a large estate that turned out to be an orphanage. Eager to see if he could be of some assistance, he headed towards the building only to find arrows raining down upon him. Easily deflected with his shoulder and heavy armor, he found his way to the building showing that he was not a threat and was there to help. He was confronted by the heavily armed young headmistress of the orphanage, Jeyna, who believed in his sincerity to help and invited him in. She confessed she was desperate and had been praying night and day for a savior and was relieved when he arrived. She told Xanther how for the past month the orphanage had been under siege by an army of bandits who were eager to break into the vault full of the donations that had been given by many rich benefactors to keep the orphanage open. Many of the guards had been killed in the battles as well as the orphans who helped take up arms against the assailants. Xanther was all too eager to help and that night as the bandits made their attack, the assistance of Xanther prevented any loss of life from the orphanage. As the nights passed and the battles continued, Xanther helped work in the gardens that had been burned down and rebuild the walls that had been destroyed. Though each night the bandits came with no sign of slowing down. Xanther decided it was time to take it to the bandits base, though he wanted to go alone Jeyna insisted on joining them and together they stormed the base and easily vanquished the formidable army.
The days he had spent with Jeyna at the orphanage were some of the most thrilling he had ever experience. He was in awe of the compassion and the strength he witnessed from her, knowing she would fight until her dying breath to protect the innocent children. There was no doubt The Light shined brightly within her and Xanther proposed to her, feeling like he could not spend another day without her by his side and that he would stay and help run the orphanage.
His sister Dovina, The Lord Commander of The Light Guard, made the journey from the Temple of The Light outside their hometown of Seahaven, to perform the marriage ritual at the orphanage. Along with her came a handful of temple monks who were willing to move in and help work the grounds. It was a modest ceremony.
That is, until a few uninvited guests appeared. Crashing the party was none other than Avelina, the lover of Xanther’s former enemy Kerrick Brackney who murdered his parents. Out for revenge against Xanther who not only vanquished her lover, but her son who was being raised to rule an army called The Champions Of The Light, whose warped view of The Light called for the oppression of the innocent. Now in charge of a reformed Champions Of The Light sect, she introduced her new husband, the dark sorcerer Lord Bludmourne. The sorcerer expressed this was all a trap and that Jeyna was his daughter. With an army of dark mages and assassins, the Champions swooped down on the ceremony, and with the element of surprise on their side slaughtered all those in attendance.
Xanther’s death brought him all that he had been seeking. He had now become one with The Light. He was a part of the world and all the goodness that it contained. He was at peace.
That is until he woke up. Alone. Confused. How could this be? He was to be The Night Guard, the owl explained. The owl? The large white owl at his side. Though the owl could not talk, through his spiritual connection to Xanther he expressed that his name was Beltair and that he was The Light. Beltair explained that once a generation there would be one person who was a true servant of The Light, who could go places and do things The Light Guards could not. Though his connection to the benefits of The Light were severed, it was his duty to hunt in the dark places where the evil of the world resided and the best way too accomplish this goal was to become a part of the darkness himself.
Xanther knew now he did not have much of a choice. The last thing he wanted to do was play these games anymore. What had The Light brought him? He dedicated his life to being a good person. To being caring, trusting and compassionate, and all it had gotten him was grief and misery. All those he cared about dead. Dovina? She had dedicated herself to the cause and was a much stronger person, why couldn’t she come back? And Jeyna? Was it true? Had she set him up the whole time? Their love felt so real. If she was alive he would find the truth… but perhaps she was just as surprised by the turn of events as he? It certainly seemed that way during the wedding? Had she been murdered as well?
It seemed Beltair knew more than he would tell Xanther, who encouraged him to stay away from a life of revenge. All Xanther could do now it seemed was do as the owl bid, but he would find out one day….